Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who leads the Immigration Task Force in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, offered some clues as to what could be in President Obama’s executive order.
“I think the president is going to choose between five and 10 years, that is that you have to be in the United States for five to 10 years and you have to be working here and you are going to pay for a background check,” Gutierrez said on Fox last night. “You’re going to submit your fingerprints and they come back clear. He is going to give you a work authorization for two years and a Social Security card. He’s going to put you on the books paying taxes. And I think he is going to include that before you submit for an application you have roots in America. And I think that’s what he is going to do.”
“But that’s only going to be part. That’s going to be the largest part what he does in the number of people that’s about three million people. But I think what he’s going to do — even he’s going to do stuff for agricultural, farmers in this country, they need a million.”
Gutierrez said “there is no citizenship” in the plan.
“The president has no authority. Only through an act of Congress can they ever be granted citizenship,” he said. “Think of it this way. Here is how I look at it, like is he going to set them aside and say ‘I’m not going to prosecute these people, I’m not going after them so I get to — so I can go after the really bad guys and use the power of the government, the deportations will continue, but go after another.'”
Gutierrez said they won’t be able to sign up for welfare, food stamps and other federal benefits.
“And they can’t get a Pell grant to go to college. They cannot. Obviously we are raising money in our own community to help them, but from private sector,” the congressman said. “No, there won’t be any government benefits. And I just want to make clear to the American public — even the background check, they have to pay. The processing of their documentation, in order to get that work permit, probably will be around $500. There cannot be a cent of tax dollar money used even in granting them the work authorization. They must pay for it out of their pocket.”
He estimated four to five months from the period of Obama’s announcement to when illegal immigrants can start applying for legal status under the order.
Gutierrez suggested locking Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a room together until they arrive at a compromise immigration bill. “Let them come back in 45 days,” he said.
“They control the House. They control the Senate,” he said of Republicans in the next Congress. “Tell them to stop whining. Get the legislation done and put it on the president’s desk. That will stop everything.”